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Why Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross?

45From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:45-46).

Have you ever wondered why God could forsake Jesus, the Son of the Almighty God? If you have ever read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one is struck by the majesty of the purest person ever to walk this planet. Even those who walked with Jesus, His disciples for three years, tell us that they had never seen this man commit any sin (1 Peter 2:22). The Bible records that, apart from Jesus, there is not a man who has not sinned:

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20, emphasis mine).

How could Jesus be different from you and me and not sin? This was the very reason why He was born of a virgin. The Holy Spirit came on His mother, Mary, and she conceived differently from the rest of the Homo Sapiens race. Jesus was 100% God, but also 100% man. Adam, the one who first sinned, passed on to all of us this default in our nature to be disobedient to our Creator, what the Bible calls sin. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God warned them about the following:

16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die(Genesis 2:16-17).

The warning was about spiritual death, which is separation from God, and, of course, physical death too. After they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve did not fall dead, but something happened within their inner nature, their spirit, that made them hide from God when He came to enjoy their company (Genesis 3:8-10). Sin causes a barrier between God and us:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

God has gone to extraordinary lengths to take away this barrier of sin that separates us from Him. He came to earth and was born of a virgin so that Adam’s sinful nature was not passed to Him. He came to take upon Himself the payment of sin that we owed because of our sin. God cannot weigh some on the scales of justice and say one has done more good than another. The problem is more profound than that. All of us have sinned. There is not a person on earth who is good enough to live with a Holy God. The wage we receive for our life of sin is to be separated from God for eternity, which the Scriptures call death. But God, in His love for us, chose to come to earth and pay our penalty of sin Himself:

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them (2 Corinthians 2:19).

When Christ hung on the cross, He took our sin upon Himself, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The debt of sin that separated you and me from God was paid for at the cross. That was why He could shout a victory shout right at the point of death, "It is finished!” The Greek words translated into English as “It is finished” literally mean, “Paid in full.” This is the Good News! The debt of Your sin and mine has been paid! To become a Christian is to receive the full pardon for your sin paid for by Christ. Will you give your life over to Him, believe the good news of your deliverance from the penalty of sin, and ask Him to come into your life? There's no better day than today. Keith Thomas

If you are interested in the last words of Jesus before He died on the cross, you might want to click this link: The Seven Sayings from the Cross.


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